Orlando City Soccer Club President Speaks to Full Sail Students

Recently, Full Sail kicked off its newest monthly lecture series, Campus Conversation. Sponsored by the Sports Marketing & Media, Entertainment Business, and Music Business programs, the series features luminaries from all areas of the business world speaking to Full Sail students both on campus and online. The inaugural event featured Orlando City Soccer Club Founder and President Phil Rawlins in conversation with Sports Marketing & Media Program Director Josh Mora.

Over the course of 90 minutes, Phil described his journey from England to Orlando, including some of his earliest memories attending soccer matches as a young man in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Eventually, he’d grow up to become part owner of the the Stoke City Football Club. Years later, he credits that time as a being extremely valuable in terms of listening to and observing the needs of the fans. It’s experience that’s carried over into his role as President of Orlando City Soccer Club.

“It’s not that difficult to run a football club,” he said. “You have to apply some common sense and some logic. You have to look after your fan base. Your fan base is absolutely critical— the tribe is what it’s about. So you take care and you do the right thing. I knew enough about business and I knew enough about sales and marketing to know that if we put those things together, I could help it be better. And I knew what the fans wanted. I was listening, watching, and I knew what they wanted, which was somebody who cared driving the club forward in the right direction.”

Phil also discussed the significance behind the decision to call the team the Orlando City.

“We wanted to tap into the spirit of the city, and give the city an identity and something to root for. It was a little unique because at the time, no one had used “city” in a name. It’s quite traditional in Europe and the like to use “city” in the name, and it hadn’t been done in the US. So we did something that was non-traditional but at the same time, traditional. We mixed them together. It’s also easy to chant and sing as well, which you have to consider. “

You can view the entire interview below, or by heading over to our YouTube channel.

As a special bonus, we asked Phil five questions about how he and his team utilize creative approaches when it comes to marketing.